U.S. Traffic Fatalities Increase After Multi-Year Decline

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its traffic fatality data for 2012. Though the overall number of deaths remains historically low, the percentage of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities continues to rise.
November 14, 2013, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The official 2012 death toll is out for our nation’s poorly-designed, auto-centric transportation system," reports Tanya Snyder. "According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic injuries on the nation’s roadways claimed the lives of 33,561 people. . . .That’s a 3.3 percent increase — a difference of more than a thousand lives."

Though the rise in vehicular deaths came after several years of declines, fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists continued their recent upward trend.

"Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths rose faster than the overall rate — 6.4 and 6.5 percent, respectively," notes Snyder. "This is a long-term trend: Walking and biking are becoming more dangerous relative to driving. Occupants of passenger vehicles make up 65 percent of fatalities now, down from 75 percent in 2003, while 'non-occupants' (i.e. pedestrians and cyclists) make up 17 percent, up from 13 percent. Motorcyclists now account for 15 percent of casualties, up from 9 percent."

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Published on Thursday, November 14, 2013 in DC.Streetsblog
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